'Latinos Going Green' (from the SF Bay Guardian)

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at bellsouth.net
Sun Nov 3 00:07:52 MST 2002

[The following part of an article in the SF Bay Guardian gives an indication
of the impact the Camejo campaign is having among working people, especially
the most oppressed and exploited layers.]

Latinos going Green

According to almost all of the polls, even ardent Democrats aren't exactly
thrilled about the prospect of having to vote for Gov. Gray Davis. That
could help the Green Party candidate, Peter Camejo, finish with an unusually
high vote total for a third-party contender. And Camejo says he's making
inroads in an area where the Green Party has traditionally been weak: with
nonwhite voters.

Camejo told us Green registration is on the rise among Latinos, in large
part due to anger with the incumbent governor. Davis waffled for weeks on a
key farmworkers rights bill. He vetoed a law that would have given driver's
licenses to many immigrants. And then he failed to show up for a debate
hosted by New California Media, which represents hundreds of organizations
devoted to issues affecting people of color.

"When I was on Radio Unica, nearly every caller said they were voting
Green," Camejo noted. "That's the newest development. Latinos joining the
Green Party."

Indeed, several Democratic members of the Latino Caucus of the state
legislature have publicly rebuked Davis.

Assemblymember Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), author of the bill that would
have made driver's licenses available for immigrants in the process of
applying for legal residency, told us the caucus has decided not to support
Davis's reelection efforts.

"From the Latino perspective, this is one of the most significant civil
rights issues," Cedillo said. "The governor's veto is seen as a rejection of
accepting diversity and embracing immigration."

Miguel Araujo, general coordinator for Centro Azteca - which works to
educate Mexican immigrants in state politics - says more and more Latinos
are disgusted with Davis and are registering to vote Green.

"We had a meeting last night in San Jose with 200 people, and a majority are
asking for the number to call Camejo to help him and give him donations,"
Araujo said. "Lots and lots of Latinos are choosing to go with neither the
Republican nor the Democrat. Camejo understands our necessities."

Davis appears to be feeling the pressure. He's scrambling to prop up support
from Latinos. He issued a press release Oct. 17 announcing the publication
of a Spanish- language ad in La opinion, the L.A.-based Spanish-language
daily that features the endorsements of prominent Latinos and members of the
Democratic Party, such as Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante and U.S.
Congressmember Hilda Solis (D- Polanco).

Camejo said the Green Party is also adding new Arab American members (thanks
in part to Camejo's criticism of U.S. policy in the Middle East). And the
Fang family-owned Asian Week ran a story Oct. 17 about increases in Green
party membership among Asian Pacific Islanders.

The growth of the party could have an impact far beyond the governor's race:
in Mendocino, Humboldt, and northern Sonoma Counties, a poll by the
Republican Party for the state assembly seat representing District One shows
that the Green candidate, Doug Thron, is running 10 points ahead of the
Democratic candidate, Patty Berg, and 11 points behind the front-runner,
Republican candidate, Rob Brown.

"We have grown 27.7 percent in the last year," Camejo said. "No other
political party is growing."

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